Review of the year – Jamie MacMillan

Favourite Album: Idles – Joy As An Act Of Resistance

The second album from Idles, was a game changer. Taking the savage intensity of their debut, Brutalism, channelling its ferocity into a series of barbed socio-political anthems, they have helped to shape much of the musical conversation in 2018. Whether it was the pro-immigrant ‘Danny Nedelko’, the cry to change generations of attitude towards masculinity in ‘Samaritans’, or the sheer bruising power of album opener ‘Colossus’, they produced a record as near-perfect as possible. There were huge progressions, not just in Joe Talbot’s fierce lyrics, but in the barrelling guitar sounds cooked up by the Bristolians. Excitingly, work on album number three has already begun.

Favourite Gig: Shame – The Haunt

2018 saw the usual mix of legends and newcomers appear across Brighton. At one end of the scale, Patti Smith’s Brighton Dome show was an absolute treat. All those years of poetic, powerful messages channelled into one unforgettable evening. A legend of a different sort, Jarvis Cocker’s surprise and intimate Patterns gig was one of those moments that you just can’t miss – his mixture of Pulp standards, solo classics and new ‘Jarv Is’ material made it a huge step up from the usual Britpop nostalgia. However, as a live moment, Shame at The Haunt is unbeatable. The explosion of a band grabbing their moment with both hands, in a venue that became woefully too small for them in the period between announcement and performance, the intensity of that night was unbelievable. To see them playing in front of a few thousand in London a few months later showed just what a dizzying ride they had enjoyed.

One We’ve Missed: Lily Allen – No Shame

The finest record that slipped through the net was No Shame by Lily Allen. A fantastic return to form, after Allen’s hiatus from music following an identity crisis in the wake of 2014’s poorly received Sheezus album. It’s an electro-pop record, with those hints of dancehall and reggae that mark this out as classic Allen territory, and excellent lyrics which chart her personal battles alongside social and political issues.

Jamie MacMillan

Top Three Tracks:

Idles – ‘Danny Nedelko’
Black Honey – ‘Midnight’
Architects – ‘Death Is Not Defeat’